Hayes to face Cook for council seat

Former coroner candidate doesn't live in district, but says he will move there before March 7

UPDATE: Reports say James Hayes helped a Laurens County deputy effect an arrest on an allegedly combative suspect. James Hayes has filed as a candidate for Clinton City Council.

Hayes does not live in the district he seeks to represent, but said today he intends to move there before the March 7 election. He is challenging incumbent Danny Cook, a former unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of Clinton.

Hayes is facing criminal prosecution from the Clinton Department of Public Safety for allegedly showing a nude male photo to a 16-year-old girl in August. The case has been true-billed by the Laurens County Grand Jury, and is awaiting dispensation by the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Hayes has denied any wrongdoing, and said he has filed subpoenas for Clinton police records in the case.

He said he is being prosecuted because he brought to light an alleged sexual incident between a Clinton police officer and an underage female. Clinton Dept. of Public Safety Director Robin Morse said the charge has no merit.

Recently, video interviews between a Clinton officer and witnesses to the alleged illegal photo showing were posted to YouTube. Hayes has posted videos giving his side of the story to his Facebook page.

He also was cleared of any wrongdoing in an incident last year in which a Greenwood woman alleged he used extortion to obtain text messages from her phone.

Hayes released the explicit “sexting” messages between the woman and former Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain. There were 6,600 messages, some contain nude photos of the woman, and allegedly there were Snapchat photos exchanged between Chastain and the woman.

It was Chastain’s second major personal scandal of his 16 years as sheriff, and he lost the June 2016 Republican primary to Don Reynolds. Reynolds, a retired SC Highway Patrolman, won election in Nov. 2016, and was sworn into office Tuesday.

Hayes filed to run as Laurens County Coroner and won the Republican nomination. His candidacy ended when a circuit court judge ruled he did not have the education required by state law to be a coroner. Incumbent Coroner Nick Nichols sued Hayes over the issue, won the suit and won the Nov. 2016 General Election over GOP challenger William Weir.

Hayes also was prosecuted by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for an alleged weapons possession charge, but the case was dropped. He allegedly pulled a gun on a business partner at the former Hayes Ambulance Service building on Torrington Road. Hayes moved the business to Clinton, but lost his license. Hayes had been a frequent critic of Laurens County EMS response times under the administration of former director Chad Burrell.

Filing for municipal seats in Laurens County ended today. These are the Clinton City Council seats up for election: City Council District 1, City Council District 3 and City Council District 5. 

Candidates are:

District 1 – Danny Cook, James Hayes

District 3 – Mary Jean Byrd, Sasha Cotton, Robbie N. Neal

District 5 – Norman Scarborough, Ronnie Roth


From the Jan. 4 Clinton Chronicle:


Seeking re-election: Danny Cook has announced he will seek another four-year term on Clinton City Council. Cook is currently the representative from Ward 1 on city council. The non-partisan election will be held Tuesday, March 7. “I am seeking re-election for Ward 1 of Clinton City Council,” Cook said. “I have certainly enjoyed representing the citizens and would sincerely like to continue to do so. Growth of jobs, economic development, utility rates and continued community development are top priority agenda items for me to work with council on. I am asking for your support and would be honored to continue to serve you.”


Announces for re-election: Norman Scarborough has announced he will seek another term on Clinton City Council. Scarborough is the Ward 5 representative. The election will be Tuesday, March 7. “City Council has accomplished a great deal for our city since I joined three years ago, particularly in the areas of economic development, downtown redevelopment, and business retention. I am excited about our community's future because we have in the works more outstanding projects in recreation, economic development, downtown revitalization, and others, and I hope to be able to work with other Council members to bring those projects to fruition,” Scarborough said. “The city's I26 Commerce Park will soon be the only Class A industrial park in the county and puts Clinton near the top of the state's list of economic development sites. I serve on both the Utility Advisory Committee, which involves both Council members and citizens in an effort to find ways to better control the city's utility rates, and on the Recreation Subcommittee, where an exciting project is in the works. I appreciate the opportunity to have served our city and its citizens for the last three years and look forward to serving again.”


From the Jan. 11 Clinton Chronicle


Clinton resident and healthcare professional Robbie Neal of E Bluford St. has filed to run for the Ward 3 seat on Clinton City Council in the 2017 elections.

Robbie is a native of Winston Salem, North Carolina and a 1982 graduate of West Forsyth High School. She has three children and one grandchild. She worked in the health care industry for 12 years at Children’s Levine Hospital before being recruited to Greenville Health System—which operates the Laurens County hospital—in 2011. Ms. Neal believes that her experience as a health care professional uniquely qualifies her to serve on city council. “I have a long career dedicated to helping people. Now, I want to help people in a different way by serving on city council,” she said. 

Robbie attends Hebron Baptist Church in Clinton, and is an activist for improving relations between citizens and law enforcement. Her passion for bringing the community together will be the main focus on her campaign. “I know that I can’t change the world on my own, but I want to do my part in making a difference here in our community, and help us unite as one city.” She says she would like to see the city take greater initiatives on settling the city’s electric rates, revitalizing the city’s outer neighborhoods, and investing in parks and recreation development in all parts of our city. “I love helping people. Now I want to help the public and help improve the quality of life for everyone in our city,” Neal said. The City of Clinton will hold its municipal elections on March 7.


Hayes assisting deputy:









Town of Cross Hill candidates, mayor & 4 town council seats: Mayor – Randy Bishop, Bobby Kersey; Town Council – Charles Bartee, David Coleman, Brett Davis, Malachi Dressel, Beverly Lindsay Jones, Robin Whiteford Quinton.

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